“Three supernatural patients. One therapist. All struggling to be human,” reads Inhuman Condition’s tagline. This 33 episode web series is following the life of Dr. Michelle Kessler (Torri Higginson) and the relationship she’s building with her patients that each happen to be some sort of supernatural entity. It’s one part sci-fi, one part drama, and a dash of romance. Garnish with killer cinematography and character development that’ll knock your socks off, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for an addictive, entertaining, and aesthetically pleasing show.
RJ Lackie, the creator and writer, explained in a recent interview that the series “is about being different in a way society isn’t comfortable with.” The idea first popped into his head during class at Ryerson University. He was thinking about an idea he could produce on a student budget. “I’d read that HBO’s In Treatment (one of my favorite shows) was less costly to produce because of its emphasis on great performances. Then I considered Buffy the Vampire Slayer (my formative show growing up), which had a great approach of using supernatural events as metaphors for real-life problems. And it struck me: supernatural therapy!”
So, Inhuman Condition came about.
Dr. Kessler is assigned three patients to work with. Each one has their own supernatural identification, but also their own issue to work through. Linc (Thomas Olajide) is an overly confident werewolf whose layered and intense past plays a huge role in who he’s become. Then there’s Clara (Clara Pasieka), who has ultimately given up hope after learning she’ll eventually become a vampire. Last but not least, Dr. Kessler’s third patient is Tamar (my personal favorite). Tamar (Cara Gee) has anxiety that you can feel through your screen, her fidgeting and stuttering so extreme that you can immediately tell she’s been through some serious shit. And that she has. She comes from a dark past where she has an ability to unleash extraordinary powers when she’s emotional.
The three patients each have their own backstory that you get to explore through these therapy sessions. Each patient is so different and so intriguing that you’ll feel like you’re watching three separate series. But the thing that ties them all together is their therapist. While Dr. Kessler’s patients have interesting stories of their own, her story can’t go unmentioned. She’s dealing with the relationships between her ex-wife Rachel (Angela Asher) and the father of her daughter Will (Shaun Benson). Through the series, she takes her patients on a journey of self-realization and transformation, but what she doesn’t realize is that she’s on that same journey as well.
I asked Lackie what people would get out of this series when they watch. He told me, “I think it’s up to the viewer to come up with their own response to a series like this. That said, one of the themes that really resonates for me personally in the show is: you have to take care of yourself before you can try to save the world.” And that’s exactly what these characters work to realize, especially Dr. Kessler.
It was incredibly important to Lackie to have a diverse cast. “Inhuman Condition addresses structural inequality and oppression as a core part of its thematic language. To tell a story like this without a diverse cast, in my opinion, would be a huge mistake.” Not only is the cast racially diverse but they all have different sexual identifications as well. He wanted each character to be so vividly different, each one so “deep and unique enough that the therapy sessions would be engaging to watch.” And they really hit the nail on the head with that.
I asked if there was a favorite part of this series, what episode or scene stood out to him the most. He gave me a long list of scenes that he was equally ecstatic about. “This is so hard to nail down, because I am phenomenally proud of our cast and crew,” he mentions. “I can’t say enough about the cast I was blessed to work with, as each and everyone consistently elevated and deepened the material.” You can tell this when you watch the series. But as exceptional as the cast is, it’s only fair to credit that to the incredible writing of Lackie and his team.
No news has been dropped yet about the second season. That just means we’ll have to keep rewatching the first, but I don’t think anyone’s complaining about that.